Photo: Dirk Pauwels/ Copperfield Gallery

Seam ReZone, 2015

deflated footballs

For nineteen years (1948-1967) the city of Jerusalem was divided into two parts between Jordan and Israel. A minefield separated the city, cutting off neighborhoods and houses, and causing many incidents over the years. An Arab school, Collège des Frères, was located on the border of the Jordanian side. The children would play football in the playground, often kicking their balls into no man’s land. In December 1965, the UN requested that Israel collect and return the balls to the children as a Christmas gift. As the UN officials looked on, an Israeli officer marched through the no man’s land while Jordanian soldiers directed him from the other side of the border, yelling ‘go left’ or ‘go right’ to prevent him from stepping on a mine. Twenty-eight balls were collected during this collaborative operation and returned to the children during the Christmas celebration inside the UN building across the road.